Lentils are a small, round, lens-shaped legume that comes in many colors and sizes. Lentils are inexpensive, highly nutritious, and can be stored for a long time without refrigeration. These features have made lentils a staple food in many cultures across the globe. Lentils are edible seeds from the legume family.Lentils are a high-protein, high-fiber member of the legume family. Like a mini version of a bean, lentils grow in pods and come in red, brown, black, and green varieties. It is also called dal in hindi.
They’re well known for their lens shape and sold with or without their outer husks intact. Lentils health benefits includes promoting healthy pregnancy, boosting energy level, promoting intestinal regularity, supporting weight loss, regulating blood sugar levels, buffering the effects of free radicals and preventing cancer. Other benefits includes lowering cholesterol level, decreasing the risk of heart diseases, help maintaining an ideal blood tonicity, and preventing blood vessel atherosclerosis.
1. Heart health
Lentils contain fiber, folic acid and potassium that supports heart health. It also reduces cholestrol levels in the body and reduces the risk of cariovascular diseases..
Lentils contains folate that prevens congenital disabilities during pregnancy.
Lentils contain selenium which decreases tumor growth rates, prevents inflammation. and improve immune system against infection. It also reduces the risk of colorectral cancer.
4. Fighting fatigue
Lentils contain iron which helps in fightining fatigue.
5. Digestion, regularity, and satiety
Lentils prevent constipation and promotes digestive system as it contains fiber. It also reduces appetitie, giving a “full” feeling for longer thus, maintaining the weight of the body..
6. Lentils May Boost Energy Levels
Lentils boost energy levels in the body as it is rich in iron.
7. Promote Intestinal Regularity
Lentils prevents constipation.. Regular consumption of lentils helps promote regularity, as the fiber contained within them helps bulk waste and also prevents excessive water resorption in the colon.
8. Help Regulate Blood Sugar Levels
Lentils controls the blood sugar levels in the body thus, protecting from many diseases.
9. Helps Buffer The Effects Of Free Radicals
Lentils contains managanese that reduces the effects of free radicals in the body.
10. Can Lower Cholesterol
Lentils are low in fat thus, reducing the cholestrol levels in the body and protects from many diseases.
11. Helps Maintain An Ideal Blood Tonicity
Lentils contains potassium which helps boost sodium excretion and rebalance the equilibrium state of blood and fluids.
12. Prevent Blood Vessel Atherosclerosis
Lentils contain antioxidants and fiber which prevent atherosclerosis and reducing the risks of stroke and heart disease.
Right time to eat pulses is Morning and Afternoon. Doctors always recommend to eat light food in night. Because of the high protein properties right time to eat pulses is afternoon and morning. Lentils go well with rice mushrooms, sugar snap peas, green beans and asparagus.
Ways to use lentils
● Add lentils to any soup or stew recipe for extra nutrients and fiber
● Precook lentils and keep them in the refrigerator for a quick protein source
● Use lentils in place of beans in any recipe
● Replace half the meat in Bolognese sauce or lasagna with red lentils
● Make a lentil dip by smashing cooked lentils with a fork and adding garlic, onion, chili powder, and chopped tomatoes
● Look out for new snacks like lentil-based crackers, chips, or crisps.
Uses of lentils
- Masoor dal for Unwanted Hair Removal
Take 1 teaspoonful of masoor dal power and 1 teaspoonful of rice flour or chawal powder. Add gram flour in it, around one teaspoonful and milk to make paste along with 2-3 drops of almond oil. Mix this well and use on the face keep it for 5 minutes once it dried slightly remove it with scrubbing in circular motion. It doesn’t show the results instantly but when done regular this masoor dal face pack will thin out the facial hair. Soon the hair will get fine and will not be too obvious to notice. The same masoor dal recipe can be used to get rid of the unwanted hair on the body and face like upper lips, forehead etc.
2. Masoor Dal Face Pack for exfoliation
A simple exfoliating masoor dal face pack can be made by mixing masoor dal powder with some milk. Applying this on the face fetches good results. Scrub it off the face once this gets dried. While scrubbing, you need to do circular motions to scrub the skin. This will take away your dead skin cells. Moreover, when the dead skin is removed the skin layers get healed with new layers of cells and tissues. It will exfoliate and removes the dead skin cells to expose the newer younger, smoother skin. This dal pack is good for mature skin and to lighten blemishes. You should try this once in a week for dry skin and 2 times in a single week for oily acne prone skin types.
3. Masoor Dal face pack with honey for Pigmentation Removal
Those of us who have dry flaky skin can seek help with this masoor dal face pack along with some honey. This takes off the flakes and dryness. Skin appears youthful and softer since honey maintain a good skin while the dal is an effective skin scrubbing agent.
- Mix a teaspoonful of Masoor dal powder and 1 teaspoonful of honey.
- Mix the two thoroughly and apply on the clean face.
- Rinse the mask after 15 minutes with gentle mashing which will remove dead skin cells as well.
- Masoor dal packs are also protein rich hence wonderful for the skin fairness. This also even tones the skin.
4. Masoor Dal Fairness Pack with besan and yoghurt
You should try this remedy on alternate day not more than that to gain the fairness.
- Mix 1 teaspoon of red lentil powder and same quantity of besan and yoghurt along with 2-3 pinches of turmeric. Ubtan is ready.
- Apply this on the face and once it dries completely, moist your hands and scrub this pack off gently.
- It scrapes off the dead skin layer, removes acne, sun tan from the face and skin looks plump.
- This pack can also be tried for the body as a body ubtan or body pack.
5. Masoor Dal Face Pack with Marigold flowers
Marigold flowers or genda flowers are also good to be used along with masoor dal. This flower has the oils that will make the dry and itchy skin patchy. It will also heal the acne marks from the skin hence doing this simple remedy will be making your skin smoother. It can be used by all the skin type and is suitable for even the dry sensitive skin too.
- Mix masoor dal powder with crushed marigold flower paste and use this on the face for glowing softer skin.
- Let it be on the face for 15 minutes and then wash the face with tepid water.
- This can be used by all skin types and all round the year.
How to buy and store lentils
Lentils have long lie and they are usually purchased dry. It should be stored in an airtight container away from heat and moisture.
Season in which lentil is available
Lentils are available all year round
How to make Dal fry – Red lentils Northern Indian style
For 4 portions:
200g red lentils
1 red onion finely chopped
2-3 cloves garlic finely chopped
2-3 green chilies finely chopped
1 tomato finely chopped
1-1,5 tsp salt
1 tsp turmeric
1 tbsp ghee
2 tsp cumin seeds
1-2 tsp chili powder
rice or chapati, apam, dosha …….
Rinse lentils and cook in water till soft. Amount of the water should be cca 3x higher than lentils volume. They used pressure cooker pretty often in India, which made the process much faster. In a regular pot you will cook it 10-20 mins according to the size of the lentils.
Heat up ghee in a kadai pan, add cumin seeds. As soon as they start releasing their aroma, add garlic and chili peppers. In 30 secs add onion. In 1 min add turmeric. Stir all the time. In another 1 min add tomato, chili powder and salt to taste. Saute 10 minutes.
Stir in red lentils. Add some water if necessary to reach consistency you can see on the photo.
Simmer 3 more minutes and serve with rice or any kind of Indian bread, dosha or apam ……
How to make South Indian Spicy Lentil Stew
4 cups water
1 cup masoor dal (red lentils) or mung dahl (yellow lentils)
2 tomatoes, cut into large chunks
5-6 large okra, halved lengthways
2 carrots, cut into large chunks
2 potatoes, cut into large chunks
1 tablespoon turmeric
2 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons tamarind paste or 1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 tablespoon cilantro seeds, ground
1 teaspoon cumin seeds, ground
1 tablespoon black mustard seeds
1-2 jalapeno peppers, seeded and chopped
6-8 dried curry leaves
1 tablespoon sambhar masala
In a large saucepan bring the water to a boil. Add the dahl, tomatoes, okra, carrots, potatoes, turmeric, salt and tamarind paste or lemon juice. Stir and bring back to a boil. Reduce the heat slightly and cook until the dahl is tender–approximately 30 minutes; add more water if necessary.
Meanwhile, in a heavy skillet, heat the oil and lightly fry the ground cilantro and cumin over a medium heat. Add the mustard seeds, chile and curry leaves and fry for 2 minutes, covering the skillet as the seeds pop. Add the fried spices to the cooked dahl and vegetables. Add the sambhar masala and mix well.
The stew can be prepared up to 2 hours in advance.
Consuming large amounts of lentils may cause flatulence and constipation.
Fun facts on lentils
- Lentils are an excellent natural source of folate and manganese.
- They are an economical source of protein.
- Evidence suggests they protect heart health.
- Lentils are an easy-to-prepare, versatile, and nutritious ingredient.
- Lentils have been eaten by humans since Neolithic times and were one of the first domesticated crops.
- In the Middle East, lentil seeds have been found dating back more than 8000 years.
- In Judaism, lentils are considered to be a food for mourners because of their round shape symbolizing the circle of life.
- The Greek playwright Aristophanes called lentil soup the “sweetest of delicacies.”
- Lentils have been found in Egyptian tombs dating as far back as 2400 BC.
- In India, the lentil is known as dal or daal.
- For many centuries, lentils were considered to be “the poor man’s meat.” In Catholic countries, those who couldn’t afford fish would eat lentils during Lent instead.
- In the 18th century, King Louis XV’s wife, Marie Leszczynska, made lentils fashionable among royalty and they were nicknamed “the queen’s lentils.”
- There are many different varieties and colors of lentils, including brown, yellow, black, orange, red and green.
- The most common lentils used in the United States are green and brown, since these varieties are best at retaining their shape after cooking.
- Unlike most other beans, lentils don’t need to be soaked before cooking.
- In the 1980s British sitcom “The Young Ones,” the character named Neil is a stereotypical hippie who is always eating lentils.